The Road to the Grammys

SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR

The Soweto Gospel Choir album, ‘African Spirit’, produced by Robin Hogarth, won ‘Best Traditional World Music Album’, at the 50th Grammy awards held in Los Angeles on the 10th February 2008.

Robin Hogarth was also the producer of the Choir’s previous Grammy winning album ‘Blessed’. In the introduction to ‘African Spirit’ he said: ‘South African gospel music has developed from traditional African forms centuries ago, through the western hymn structures of the early missionaries, and then the many evolving gospel and music styles both in Southern Africa, and internationally, throughout the 20th century. Make no mistake however – this music is unique and colourful, African style!’ Robin has been involved in evolving new recording approaches, both to adequately technically capture African choral and playing techniques, and to develop in the studio the capacity to reproduce the level of excitement and live communication of African music.

In addition to winning the previous 2006/7 Grammy, the Soweto Gospel Choir, formed in November 2002, has performed extensively in Europe, Australia, the far east, and the US. It has won numerous awards including an Australian Helpmann Award, and an American Gospel Award. The choir was formed by promoters Andrew Kay, David Vigo and Clifford Hocking, in association with Executive Producer Beverley Bryer, and Musical Director David Mulovhedzi. The choir averages 30 members from Soweto near Johannesburg, and surrounding areas. They have become known for their soaring voices, and colourful movements, rhythm and dance. They perform mainly unaccompanied, or with one or two playing percussion, or employing their own talents as an accompanying band on a number of vibrant pieces.

The track Oh Happy Day from Blessed was used by Prince Harry and Megan for their Instagram releases during their visit to South Africa in 2019.

Blessed – Soweto Gospel Choir

Available on Soweto Gospel Choir Website

African Spirit – Soweto Gospel Choir

Available on Soweto Gospel Choir Website

Robin, having been involved with African and World music for many years, with over 50 albums to his credit, said of these awards:

“Through the years of turmoil in South Africa, and the long walk to freedom walked by Nelson Mandela and the people, music and art have played a vital role in expressing hope and aspiration. Soweto Gospel Choir members are representative of South Africans everywhere, and these awards underline what can be achieved. The future is alive with possibility! All South Africans can be proud in such an achievement, as can all like minded people, and can take hope that the dream of a better world for all can be realised.

“Every day brings new challenges, and new and wonderful music, rhythm and cultural panoramas: I love what I do as it continually opens up new futures, and the adventure is ever changing.”

Photo Credit: From Soweto Gospel Choir

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The Road to the Grammys

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